“Peaceful Warrior” is based on the book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. It is semi-autobiographical – or, based on real experiences of Dan Millman’s.
I have to admit, I would probably never have heard of this movie if I hadn’t found a copy of the book about 4 years ago at a garage sale. I spent a whole 25 cents on the book, which blew me away!
Both the book and the movie are very subtle. On the surface (which is about all most people will get from this) either one could be called “One year in the boring life of a college jock” – and be right.
But, there is so much more inside, for someone who is looking. In fact, that is (to me, right now) the MAIN message – look.
“THERE ARE NO ORDINARY MOMENTS.“
Most of us seem to think we’re paying attention to life, when in actual practice we tune out more than 90% of our daily experiences. Added to that, we carry around a ton of “mental noise” (what I call it) that clouds our thinking and affects our judgment – in very BAD ways. The two main lessons this movie shows Dan learning are to pay attention to EVERYTHING and clear his mind of the background chatter. Or, as a friend of mine once put it – live in “present time” – not the past or the future. Here. Now. And observe – intensely observe – what is really here right now.
Or, as the character Socrates put it in the movie, “There is NEVER nothing going on.”
Oh, btw – I LOVED this movie. It helped me to realize a mistake I made over 20 years ago, that fortunately is still within my grasp of correcting.
In October of 1980, I had surgery on my left leg for a bone tumor. I had just turned 18 years old. Prior to that, I had been a distance runner – it was routine for me to run 5-10 miles per day, and 15 when training for a race. When it came to races, I always did poorly (we didn’t know at the time that I had an enlarged heart and a congenital murmur) but I still enjoyed the act of running. Another quote from the movie, “A warrior finds the love in what he does.” I loved running – being outside, cruising through nature, having time alone to gather and sort out my thoughts, and being in good physical shape. I was also a swimmer – or half-fish as my mom frequently accused me.
After the bone tumor, for about the first 6 months, every chance I got I would leave the hospital to go do something that violated the rules I’d been given about what I could or could not do with my leg. Every time resulted in my return to the hospital, with fresh damage to my leg. Eventually, I made the mistake of believing the limits, and gave up.
I now realize that there have been other times since then when, usually in service to others, I’ve exceeded those limits and gotten away with it. I need to own THAT frame of mind – that I am not bound by those limits – and go back into training. Not because I want to compete, but because I have always loved running. Just like Dan did in the book and movie.
So, on the way home from the movie yesterday, we stopped at a mall in Joplin, and bought a pair of Sketchers running shoes (the cheapest pair of shoes in the whole store!) so that I can start working out at what I loved again. I truly believe that this is why all the other workouts I’ve tried have failed. I wasn’t outside – running! Of course, I’m going to have to work into it gradually – I’m certainly not in good enough shape to run 5 miles today – but I can get there.